Spotlight on... Adele Elliott
Relocated by a Witch...... named Katrina
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Q.What Mediums do you work in?
A. I am primarily an oil painter. I use tons of assemblage in work. My teachers would be horrified!
Q. What Art do you identify with most?
A. I love outsider art. Those artists let nothing stop them! They made images with house paint and mud. They are driven.I am a bit like them in that I will work with anything I can find. The determination to create cannot be hindered.
Q. Who or what are your biggest influences?
A. How long do you have? HA! Louisiana artist, Douglas Bourgeois is a favorite. Also, Texas painter, Julie Speed. Joseph Cornell is one I love. I study classical paintings, trying to learn techniques, but pale in comparison.
I am strongly influenced by Catholic iconography. I see auras (or halos), and sometimes use them in my work.
Q. Tell me about any themes you pursue in your Art.
A. I was raised as a Catholic, educated by nuns. I still love saints and images with golden halos.These days, I am quite anti-Catholic. I will never forgive the pedophile priests. However, I still paint saints. Can’t blame them for the priests!
Q. Does spirituality and culture play a role in your work?
A. Because I see auras, they often appear in paintings. My background includes not only Catholicism, but also an interest in Vodou, and the study of many religions. There are references to these in many works.
Culture is another story. Our contemporary culture is so seeped in corruption and criminality that I just get angry. That, too, shows in some pieces.
Q. What research do you do for your work?
A. I love the internet! I use a great deal of symbolism in my work. Flowers or animals are often associated with saints, so I read the stories of their lives to get hints. Now,
I’m working on a piece about Saint Roch. He supposedly went into the forest to die, but a dog brought him food. That must in some way be included.
Mythology and fairy tales make an appearance, as well. I don’t know all the stories, so research is important and revealing.
I also study renaissance work just to learn about skin tones and natural body poses.
I have many books about saints and fairy tales. They are always near my easel.
Q. Do you normally have an idea before you start working?
A. Whatever I find is the inspiration. My neighbor brought me some stones from his vacation home. I look at them and see the painting. There may be mountains, or water. The plan comes from the shape.
Q. Has your Art practice changed over time?
A. It has gotten much smaller. In school, we were expected to paint BIG! We started with canvases three feet by four feet. The teachers were abstract expressionists. They hated small, figurative work. As soon as I graduated, I began sizing down. I married my husband when I was 47. He loved TV. At that time, I began painting on small wooded bowls because I could sit with him in front of the TV and work. This piece is from the “Persons of Record” series. The face in painted on a wooden bowl. The 45 RPM record is his halo or aura.
Q. Describe your work space to us.
A. I started with one room as my studio. It is now so filled with ephemera that it looks as if something exploded, or maybe like a hoarder’s lair. I have moved my easel into the TV room. This better because I am not so isolated. It is a bit messy. I have a husband who thinks my work is great, no matter the mess.
Q. How do you know when something you have been working on is finished?
A. Not really a problem for me. My work is so small that I just run out of room. This was an issue in school because our canvases were as large as a wall.
Also, I stop when my arms, and behind, can take no more.
Q. Is there an element of art that you enjoy working with most?
A. Although, I consider myself a painter, I love assemblage. Unmatched earrings, broken pottery, keys without locks, these, and so much more, are my materials. It gives me pleasure to create a story from orphan pieces.
Q. What is your most important tool in your studio?
A. My husband. I cannot walk. He seals paintings, adds the eye hooks, takes the photos. And, most of all, supports and encourages my work. Not all husbands are so wonderful!
Q. Have you always had support in your art career?
A. Of course not! In my twenties, I was in a horrible marriage. He was a medical student and a sadist. Nothing I ever did was as important as his education.
Q. Are there any other channels you use to express your creativity?
A. Besides novels and short stories, I wrote an opinion column for the local paper for almost nine years. My hate mail was stunning!
I have also made tiaras, not a big demand here. They are more of a New Orleans thing.
Q. How do you differ from other Artists in your genre?
A. I don’t know what my genre is. My work doesn’t seem to fit neatly into a category.
Check back with us soon for our second interview.
You can see more of Adele's work on her website studioadeleelliott.com
Until next time!
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